The next day I decided I wanted to go on the free walking tour around Valencia. Luckily it met at our hostel and I just joined the group down in the lobby. This was amazing, From here on out, I decided the first thing in every new place is to do a free walking tour. I had done it before but completely forgot how informative and useful they were.
For example: Cutting right through the middle of the city is an old river bed. up until the seventies this had basically been an empty river bed for a few hundred years after some invading army decided to cut the river off and divert it another direction while laying siege. At this point it had been filling with garbage and overgrown with vegetation. About 40 years ago the city had plans to convert it into a super highway connecting all the major thoroughfares. When the this was announced the people of the city hated this idea and wanted to keep it green. So at night groups of people would sneak into the river bed and plant trees. They planted so many the city had no choice but to succeed. It was converted into a massive park. Now that is what I am talking about!! I would have never known this otherwise. During the tour we went by the oldest horchata shop in spain and tried some. It was completely different from the mexican horchata. People either love it or hate it, kind of like cilantro. Not the taste the reaction.
After the tour, I decided to rent a bike and ride through the park and get down to the City of Arts and Science and FINALLY check it out. I had been wanting to go to this since the first day arriving in Spain. I got back to the hostel and rented a bike from the front desk. Oh yeah, one more cool thing about this place, you can do almost everything you want right out of the front desk. The rental was 8eu for the day and slightly cheaper from the hostel. This is a great way to get around the city. The city also have a general bike rental with posts all over the city. These cost a bit more if you use it for the day, but are great for short trips. Anyways, A couple of other people from the tour had the same idea so we went together. the park is amazing, they have all sorts of stuff in there. Every City needs this; the park and the fight in the local people to make it happen.
In Spain it is said that if you don’t have a building by Santiago Calatrava in your city, that is not a city. I don’t know if I would take it that far myself, but i would agree that any city that wants more tourism, and attraction, would seriously benefit from it. To put into words they are the future of architecture. A beautiful symbiotic relationship between organic shape, manmade construction and water. I’m not even going to try to butcher by trying to describe it so I am going to just post photos when I can.
It also houses the largest Aquarium in all of europe, but since it costs like 45$us to get in we decided to take the cheaper route and play in the science museum for a measly 10$us. 3 hours later we headed back to the hostel for dinner and a final beer before I gathered me things and head down to the station to catch a train to Barcelona. At 730 or so I headed down to the station. What i didn’t expect was needing to get a ticket to stand in line to get my ticket for the train. Also people have no understanding for waiting in line and would cut continuously. next thing I know, the last train leaves at 835 and my number gets called at 840. GRRRRR. I was pissed off. I grabbed a metro bus over to the bus station to try and catch a bus. Luckily one left at midnight.
The bus station was on the other side of the park from the hostel, so I walked back there, and met back up with everyone again as they were heading out for a drink. It was pretty funny, they were surprised.So they waited for me to stow my gear again, take a quick shower from all my running around with a pack on and joined them for some more Agua de Valencia until I needed to catch my bus. 7 hours later I was finally in Barcelona, checked into my new hostel, showered and waking Kristin up.